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PANAMAX 2012 Spotlight with Lt. Col. Darren Guttmann

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Sapp
  • 183rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Darren Guttmann, from the 231st Civil Engineering flight of the Missouri Air National Guard, was the A4/7 Contingency Action Team representative for PANAMAX 2012 at Air Forces Southern, Aug. 6-17. PANAMAX 2012 is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that focuses on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal. Forces from 17 nations worked together as part of a computer-simulated-exercise to provide a variety of responses to requests made by the governments of Panama and Columbia. These requests are geared at protecting and guaranteeing safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal, ensuring its neutrality, and respecting national sovereignty.

Question: What was your role in PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: I was the A4/7 contingency operations center representative. I coordinated engineering and logistics activities between Air Force forces and the multi-national security forces.

Question: In what way did your role contribute to the overall objectives of PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: Engineering and logistics are critical to operations. My role ensured that coalition and partner nations conducted the engineering and logistics mission in a coordinated fashion. Engineering includes the bed down of forces and either the building or sustainment of infrastructure such as buildings, roadways, electrical lines and water lines, needed for the mission. Coordinated materials and similar construction techniques allow for a better understanding of what infrastructure is available and what sustainment measures need to be taken when different forces are sent in to take over after a period of time. The details get as involved as what unit of measure to work with, so from an engineering stand point that is something that partner nations are working on. Logistics involves everything from food to fuel to munitions. In order to keep the mission as everyone's first priority, logistics has to keep up.

Question: In your role, how did you work with the partner nations to ensure the success of PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: I worked with multi-national forces-south on engineer and logistics issues. We were able to exchange information on engineering/logistics tactics and procedures with partner nations. This was exactly what PANAMAX 2012 was designed to do. The exercise allows us to develop and test participating nations' capabilities to respond to a wide variety of air, land, sea, space and cyber missions as a unified force.

Question: What were the lessons learned you took away from PANAMAX 2012?

Answer: I gained a better understanding of the command and control relationships in a coalition/multi-national environment. One of the most important benefits of multinational exercises like PANAMAX is the fact that all the participants will be able to exchange their experiences, expertise and will gain new knowledge about each other's culture and people. These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and understanding among the nations participating, ultimately benefiting the overall security of the region.